Pope Francis, in his letter announcing the Jubilee Year of Mercy, calls mercy “the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” How beautiful! When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God, who is ever ready to forgive.
Pope Saint John XXIII, when opening the Second Vatican Council, indicated the path that the Church should follow: “Now the Bride of Christ wishes to use the medicine of mercy rather than taking up arms of severity…” The Catholic Church wants to show herself a loving mother to all: patient, kind, moved by compassion and goodness toward her separated children.
Pope Paul VI spoke similarly: “We prefer to point out how charity has been the principal religious feature of the Council…the story of the Good Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the Church.
Quoting Pope Francis again: “During this Year of Mercy we will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking Him to pour out His mercy upon us like the morning dew, so that everyone may work together to build a brighter future. How I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst.”
Some may think that mercy is a sign of weakness, but St. Thomas Aquinas says: “It is proper to God to exercise mercy, and He manifests His omnipotence particularly in this way.”
“Jesus’ entire life is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously. The relationships He forms with people who approach Him manifest something entirely unique and unrepeatable. The signs He works, especially in favor of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick and the suffering, are meant to teach us mercy. Everything in Him speaks of mercy. Nothing in Him is devoid of compassion.” – Pope Francis. This is our model and example as we pray for the needs of our brothers and sisters, our parish, our city, the nation, the church and the whole world.
AUTHOR: DEACON BOB MCCLELLAN
Deacon Bob McClellan ministers at Corpus Christi Parish and to inmates at the Pottawattamie County Jail, while employed as Director of Operations at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Omaha. He and his wife, Peggy, are Council Bluffs natives, and enjoy family, kayaking, camping and the mountains when they get the chance.